Dara Swan
Dara Swan, a teen leader at YWCA-NYC, prepares for this video conversation with Zerlina Maxwell.

(WOMENSENEWS)– Learning to be outspoken can be difficult for all women and girls. Political commentator and activist Zerlina Maxwell says she learned how to be assertive from her mother.

“If [my mom] is experiencing micro aggressions and I’m 8 and I’m watching how she responds to it, that’s a lesson that has informed my public persona,” Maxwell told Dara Swan, a teen leader at YWCA-NYC. “Life is too short to be silent.”

This video conversation explores the importance of speaking up for oneself and being a role model for other women. It’s the third installment of “A Seat at the Table,” an occasional Teen Voices series that brings together female leaders from the teen-adult worlds.